Podcast Recommendations

I’m really trying to focus on listening comprehension, so I recently started getting more and more podcasts off itunes. I currently have 4.5 days (108 hours) of unlistened podcasts.

There were others that I tried out, but I don’t remember their names.  Most of them spent too much time talking in Mandarin, or the audio quality was poor.  Here are the ones I’ve been listening to and watching:

audio
SBS Cantonese – this I mostly play in the background. I only actively listen to the cooking shows or children’s stories
動漫廢物 – this one I only recently discovered, but they seem very animated so it holds my interest. Every episode is 30+ minutes.
香港電台:一潮天子 – these are all about 5 to 10 minutes. They remind of Loveline
香港電台:人民人情 – although these are 2 minutes, the first 45 seconds is wasted on the introduction.  The rest is still useful since they are trying to introduce vocabulary words and they explain a little bit about the topic
香港電台:空中結緣 – seem to be a collection of stories, and there are a lot of them, and they are each 55 minutes long, so lots of material that is easy to understand

video
香港電台:HONG KONG.300 – short technology-related videos
香港電台:天下父母經-牛爸爸講古 – some quick children’s cartoons
香港電台:有房出租 – a new TV show that focuses on a house full of renters, I found it somewhat funny but I didn’t understand everything that was going on

Beyond – Spoken Cantonese Songs?

The few Beyond songs I had heard before were pure formal Cantonese. This is the first time I’ve seen one with spoken Cantonese:

Please leave comments if you know of other songs from Beyond that include colloquial Cantonese.

Slang and Idioms – X咁Y and X到Y

I had really thought I would be able to write these short idiom posts every few days, but then things got busy and I let time get away from me.  So I guess this one is long overdue, and I’ll make it twice as long.

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Flashcard Setup

My previous post was vague on how exactly I build my flashcards, and the following comment was left by darren:

I’ve used anki for awhile but i’m still not sure how people are tracking the number or words they know…do you have a deck just of words vs sentences vs mixed that you review to pull the stats? Does the number of vocab include characters and compounds or do you break that out at all? Would be really useful to know how you pull those stats out of anki to show progress etc.

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Vocabulary Progress

As many others have said, increasing vocabulary is probably the most important step towards fluency.  Maybe that’s not true for everyone, but I don’t think I really felt comfortable having conversations until I had around 4,000 words in my passive vocabulary.  I still need to move more of those over to my active vocabulary, but that is part of the reason I started this blog (to improve my speaking practice, which I really ought to do more of sometime soon…).

The journey to increase vocabulary is a long, slow, frustrating journey.  So I thought I could share my progress here.  I know it’s easy to feel like you are learning very little.  But when you look back, you’ll see you’ve come a long way.

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Cantonese Pronunciation Advice

I’ve heard this advice before, and it is really well explained in this video.

Personally, I do make an effort to follow this advice. But I know that if I am speaking fast or just not paying close attention, I still slip into making “ch” and “j” sounds.

Slang and Idioms – 無X無X

I just recently learned from a post on the cantodict forums that there is a set of phrases in the format 無X無X.  I hadn’t heard of these, so I went through the cantodict dictionary and made a list of the ones I could find. 

Supposedly there are are a lot more out there, so feel free to contribute more – I’d love to learn new ones!

Chinese Yale Romanization Meaning
無依無靠 mou4 yi1 mou4 kaau3 no one to rely on
無情無義 mou4 ching4 mou4 yi6 without emotion nor sense of justice
無法無天 mou4 faat3 mou4 tin1 outlaw
無拘無促 mou4 keui1 mou4 chuk1 freedom
無穿無爛 mou4 chyun1 mou4 laan6 still in good condition
無憂無慮 mou4 yau1 mou4 leui6 without worries
無根無蔃 mou4 gan1 mou4 keung2 without roots; not rooted
無時無刻 mou4 si4 mou4 hak1 at any time
無窮無盡 mou4 kung4 mou4 yeun6 inexhaustible; unlimited

 

But actually, my favorite new phrase is that I learned in searching for these, is 瓜無滖圓, 人無十全 .  This is pronounced “gwa1 mou4 gwan2 yun4 yan4 mou4 sap6 chyun4”.  The meaning is that nothing is perfect, but the literal meaning is “melons are not perfectly round, people are not perfect”.

Language Learning

Here’s another monologue which I would appreciate feedback on.  This time I discussed my own experience with language learning.

I was advised to try writing the blog entry first instead of speaking spontaneously. While I would prefer to speak spontaneously, I do think writing everything first is good advice. This helped me to plan what I would say, and hopefully will help move more of my “passive vocabulary” into “active vocabulary”.

Since I’m just reading this time, I made this one an mp3 instead of a video. 

And as a bonus, this way it can be downloaded (hopefully one day I will have readers who will want to learn from my monologues): Download File

The transcript follows: Read more of this post

Slang and Idioms

I really enjoy collecting random phrases and expressions, so I thought I would start a series of short posts.  I don’t fully understand every phrase in these posts, so feel free to comment and share your knowledge as well.  I’m especially interested to learn other related phrases.

I plan to usually just share one phrase at a time and describe it in as much detail as I can, but today I wanted to share a link to a huge treasure chest of lessons on various idioms that are published by a university in Foshan.  They can all be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/mantsin
http://bbs.cantonese.asia/forumdisplay.php?fid=143

Favorite Videos of FAMA and LMF

It’s so hard to find singers who sing in colloquial Cantonese, as opposed to singing in a very formal written-style Cantonese.

I just discovered the bands FAMA and LMF a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed some of their music videos. Here are my favorites. Read more of this post